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Last weekend I ventured down to Sangcheon to enter the medicinal cooking contest. Lured by the cash prizes on offer I entered and got accepted. We boarded a bus on Friday night at midnight and arrived at 4:45am and were told we should be back on the bus by 7am. Not much time to sleep huh? We arrived at the festival in the early morning to find it was outside and in the middle of a thunderstorm. The ground was crazy muddy and I wasn’t looking forward to it at all.

On the sides of the tents there were pictures of all the contestants, everyone else was in a chefs outfit then there is me in my holiday photo looking very inappropriate, oops.

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Despite the mud and adverse weather conditions we sat through the opening ceremony and started cooking our dishes. Everything went amazingly and the sun came out. I later found out that we were not just representing ourselves in this international competition , we were representing England too! It was very exciting as I had never represented my country before. It was especially exciting for Niall since he is Irish! Things were going well, my dessert was done and the risotto was nearly finished.  Who knew I had the skills to knock out a cheesecake in a thunderstorm in a muddy field. (I will seriously have to up my game next time we go camping!)  We finished our dishes on time and laid them out, it was then that we realized we had missed the mark somehow. The level of skill and presentation from the other teams was amazing, I had no idea this was what we were coming up against and suffice to say we didn’t win.

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Despite the lack of a win, we had a crazy fun time, met lots of lovely people and ate a lot of different foods. Even if the judges weren’t so keen, all the other participants went crazy over my risotto and cheesecake, so I shall share the recipes with you guys anyway.

Ginseng & Mushroom Risotto

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Ingredients 

200g of Korean Rice

1-2 litres of chicken stock

1 onion

4 cloves of garlic

50g ginseng

100g of chestnut mushrooms

1 chicken breast

1 cup green tea

50g of dried shiitake mushrooms

25g of butter

100g of freshly shaved parmesan

75ml of cream

1 glass of white wine

  1. To make the stock, boil the chicken stock with the dried mushrooms and ginseng for 20 minutes
  2.  Chop and fry the mushrooms in butter for 5 minutes and set aside.
  3. Chop the onion and garlic and fry off in a little olive oil and butter for five minutes.
  4. Add the rice to the pan. and stir for a few minutes until it is translucent.
  5. Add one ladle full of the stock to the rice and stir until absorbed.
  6. Add another ladle full of stock and stir until absorbed. Repeat this process until the rice has cooked (about 20 minutes)
  7. Add the mushrooms to the pan of rice, along with a knob of butter, cream and 50g of parmesan and stir.
  8. To cook the chicken breast, boil the green tea and place the chicken above it in a steamer for 20 minutes until cooked.
  9. Slice the chicken breast and serve of a bed of risotto and top with more fresh parmesan.

Ginger and Citron Cheesecake

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Ingredients

200g of ginger biscuits (FFM or HSM)

200g cream cheese (room temperature)

200ml whipping cream

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

200ml white chocolate

100g of butter

100g of citron jelly (유자 )

Directions 

  1. Melt the butter and crush the biscuits until they are breadcrumb texture. Stir the biscuits into the melted butter then put into the mould and push down to form the base and chill.
  2. Whip the cream cheese, cream, and vanilla together.
  3. Melt the white chocolate and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Stir the white chocolate into the cream cheese and cream mixture.
  5. Put the cheesecake mixture into the mould on top of the base.
  6. Melt the 유자 jelly and top the cheesecake. Leave to set in the fridge for at least a couple of  hours.

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